The exhibition “Tradition is Contemporary” at The National Crafts Museum in New Delhi opened in November 2022 and was curated and staged by us. The show brings 13 Danish artisans, artists and designers working with textiles to India, and juxtaposes them with the museum’s vast collection of artifacts of great craftsmanship.

The exhibition showcases more than 100 years of Danish textile tradition and tries to show how dichotomies between old and new – traditional and contemporary – don’t really hold up any more. In stead we strive to showcase how objects and ideas can migrate while travelling across different cultures and times. The next big thing was in the past.

Participating artists were:

Malene Bach (1967-)
Ragna Braase (1929-2013)
Freya Dalsjø (1989-)
Bitten Hegelund (1960-)
Vibeke Klint (1927-2019)
Marie Gudme Leth (1895-1997)
Jan Machenhauer (1954-)
Margrethe Odgaard (1978-)
Anne Fabricius Møller (1959-)
Vibeke Rohland (1957-)
Ebbe Stub-Wittrup (1973-)
Paula Trock (1889-1979)
Hanne Vedel (1933)

All signage was hand-painted by Arif Khan.

The earliest pieces in the exhibition were these specimens (left, above) found in the National Archives, Copenhagen, of textile samples transported from India to Denmark on merchant’s ships between 1788-1817. The title of the show resulted from opening up these boxes of very old textiles and realizing that they all seemed so contemporary! For the show we had a few of them redone by block-printers from Rajasthan and used them throughout the space for the set design. For instance as cushions on the stools we had made, or for the binding of the catalog. The stool is based on an old Danish milking stool – re-interpreted by the museum’s team of carpenters.

Bitten Hegelund, textile-printer, above. Ragna Braase, Margrethe Odgaard, Vibeke Klint and Anne Fabricius Møller seen below.

Fashion-designer Jan Machenhauer seen above. Vibeke Klint, Malene Bach, Ebbe Stub-Wittrup and Ragna Braase seen below.

Anne Fabricius Møller, Vibeke Rohland And Bitten Hegelund above. Vibeke Rohland, Bitten Hegelund, Hanne Vedel and Paula Trock below.

Modernist textile-printer Marie Gudme Leth above. Hanne Vedel, Paula Trock, Freya Dalsjø and Ragna Braase below.

All installation views by Jeetin Sharma. Archive samples documented by Torben Eskerod.

A tsuba is the round piece of metal that separates the shaft from the blade of a traditional samurai sword. It is also a valued collectible artifact in its own right, that along with netsukes and ceramic jars form the core of many decorative arts museums’ collections of Japanese crafts.

Designmuseum Danmark in Copenhagen holds not only one, but two whole collections of tsubas. One, the Halberstadt Collection, has been shown in Kaare Klint’s iconic drawer displays since the 1950s whereas the other one, the Pietro Krohn Collection, had never been displayed in its entirety until the recent reopening of the museum.

For that purpose we were commissioned to design a display that could exhibit the scale and intricacy of this forgotten collection, and for us it was also a chance to enter into a dialog with Kaare Klint’s original design of the entire museum as well as his well-known displays. The result is this large table in walnut with ebony detailing, that exhibits the 275 tsubas seemingly floating, casting an intricate pattern on the floor under the right lighting conditions.

The project combines some of the things that interest us the most: uncovering layers upon layers of narratives and references and giving them form through a close collaboration with knowledgeable researchers and highly skilled craftspeople.

Photos by David Stjernholm.

Ejnar Nielsen (1872-1956) was one of the clearest Danish exponents of the artistic movement known as “Symbolism”. His paintings are often dark or bleak, depicting ill or otherwise unfortunate souls, on canvases of a monumental scale.

The Hirschsprung Collection in central Copenhagen, one of the nation’s most important museums for turn-of-the-century art, in 2022 produced a large solo exhibition for the artist, the show “Ejnar Nielsen – Signs of Life” for which we did the exhibition design.

To allow for paintings of this monumental scale, the museum moved their permanent collection out of the main halls. A new dark color-scheme was applied to all of the mouldings and wall faces. We also had a text frieze revealing passages from the artist’s love letters to his sweetheart hand-painted below the plaster cornice encompassing each room.

Symbolism was closely linked to the Danish Arts-and-Crafts equivalent movement known as “Skønvirke”. For this reason we designed stools and display tables re-interpreting Skønvirke details.

As part of the exhibition, the museum did a collaboration with The Danish Association for the Blind – many of Ejnar Nielsen’s subjects were the blind inhabitants from the village of Gjern, so throughout the exhibition are interviews with blind or visually impaired people, describing different concepts relating to blindness and visual art. To add to this, we studded the stools and display tables with text bites in Braille lettering – both as an ornamental feature, but also as an extra communicating layer for those who use their fingertips to read.

One of Ejnar Nielsen most famous works is the painting “The Blind Girl” depicting a young woman standing in front of a meandering creek set in lustrous gold leaf. To emphasize the importance of this piece we proposed gilding the wall that the painting was mounted on. The result can be seen below.

The exhibition ran from August 22 – December 15 2023.

All photos by Laura Stamer.

An Asian-inspired diner in Berlin’s Mitte district, founded by Vietnamese-German Thu Thuy Pham and Thao Westphal. For the design, inspiration was drawn from Japanese kissatens as well as the Hong Kong café culture. The walls feature ash wood paneling with custom light fixtures, interspersed with a Swedish lamp from 1950s and classic restaurant dinner ware – mixing time periods and geographical places true to the nature of the varied origins of the place.

Photos by Desiree Kastull and Kaputt Agency

New furniture for the permanent collection of Kunstmuseum Brandts. The daybeds and ottomans were built by Rammelisten using ash wood with elm detailing. All upholstery by Kvadrat.

Renovation as well as design and art curation for the official residence of the Danish Prime Minister, Marienborg. The 18th century manor house was thoroughly renovated with a focus on bringing back traditional details as well as creating new ones.

For each room throughout the house, a mix of historical pieces of furniture along with newly commisioned pieces by a range of Danish designers and artists were added.

The project was done by Mathias Mentze in collaboration with Nikolaj Lorentz Mentze.

Photos by Simon Knuds

A sourdough bakery in the heart of Berlin Mitte developed in collaboration with Danish chef Frederik Bille-Brahe and German hospitality group Slow.

We developed the concept and the design of all elements, surfaces, and furniture, which was all built by carpenters using solid elm wood.

The stool designed for the project is available for purchase through our webshop.

Photos by Volker Conrad for Sofi Bakery.

One of our very first attempts at exhibition architecture was this sketch proposal for the 2017 Danh Vo exhibition “Take My Breath Away” at the National Gallery in Copenhagen (SMK).

A project for a new single-family home in the suburbs North of Copenhagen.

A library for a private home in Copenhagen. Everything is constructed in solid elm by local carpenter Rammelisten.

The carved pattern on the fronts was inspired by traditional adze carvings, but manufactured using modern CNC-milling techniques.

Renovation and transformation of a former apartment in collaboration with the Frama team, to be used as their office.

Most of the work consisted of removing years and years of bad design decisions, for instance stripping down all the wallpaper, which revealed an unexpected and beautiful original color scheme underneath.

Exhibition design for the Landscapes exhibition at Kunstmuseum Brandts, showcasing 250 years of interpretations of the Danish landscape through painting, sculpture and photo.

As a part of the show we designed a meandering bench motif treated with the traditional red color “Dyrehave Red”, known from signage and gates of the national Danish forests.

Project for the transformation of a former brickwork keeper’s house on the Northern coast of the Danish island of Falster.

There was a story that one of Per Kirkeby’s very first brick sculptures was erected in the garden here, a claim that seemed un-documentable as it had left no visible traces – until we recently discovered two photos of it in an old book about Per Kirkeby:

The fact holds no actual relation to the project as such, but it becomes a part of the mythology of a place. It feels significant.

New café and outdoor seating area for the art institution Den Frie in Copenhagen. Among the interventions is the reproduction of an 1890s rattan chair designed for the museum back then.

We also designed octogonal side tables inspired by the shape of the sculpture room at the museum, as well as Pegasus neon signage inspired by one of the first posters for the museum, painted by J. F. Willumsen in 1891.

For Danish design firm Menu we have developed this collection of home textiles in collaboration with textile designer Marie-Louise Rosholm.

The collection focuses on natural materials, using no synthetic fibers in the textiles. The throws are pure wool with silk detailing, whereas the pillows are either pure wool or pure linen.
Produced in Europe.

Refurbishment of a private home on the island of Bornholm. The proposal includes a transformation of a former smokehouse into residential use.